When Outsourcing, Choose Your Workers Wisely

December 09, 2015

It’s a given in the industry these days that call center agents can make or break a relationship with a customer. Customers usually call when they’re unhappy about something, and their conversation with the agent can either leave them feeling like they just spoke with someone who really cared, or feeling like they’re done with that company altogether. And remember, once a customer leaves, there are only two chances they’ll return: Slim and None.

So it would seem that a prime opportunity exists for companies to take a call center and expand it into something  greater; a marketing opportunity.

That’s the opinion of Jason Wesbecher, Chief Marketing Officer for Mattersight, a company devoted to the “Chemistry of Conversation,” and all things call center related.

In a recent blog post at Business 2 Community, Wesbecher looked at the value a good call center can return.

“Historically, the call center and customer service have never fallen under the marketing umbrella, but as more and more companies realize the impact that it can have on their brand, that’s starting to change,” he noted.

To make his point, Wesbecher looked at different aspects of the call center where he believes change can be implemented for the better:

Analytics: “The field of marketing has become incredibly data driven, and it’s time for call centers and customer service to step up to the plate,” he said. “Companies need to implement technology that can transform all of that raw call data into actionable insight to help them understand and improve the effectiveness of their call centers.”

Engagement: “Engagement marketing is all about connecting with people – which is exactly what call center agents do every day,” Wesbecher noted. “Beyond traditional, transactional personalization techniques, agents should also be taught the importance of understanding and shifting communication styles to best meet the needs of the customer.”

Journey Mapping: Marketers use journey maps to understand how customers move from gaining awareness of their brand to eventually purchasing from them. Similarly, call center agents must be able to navigate the journey that their customers take from the onset of a problem or inquiry. “Knowing the steps that the customer has taken to try and resolve the problem on her own, and what information the brand has or hasn’t given her, can help the agent pinpoint where the customer is in her journey and more to resolve the issue,” Wesbecher said, “as well as make the customer feel that she is in capable hands.”

Personalization: Marketers are sending increasingly targeted and personalized messages to consumers. Call centers need to do the same, and it doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. “Simply proactively acknowledging their past purchases can go a long way toward making customers feel valued,” he said.

In short, the answer can be found at the end of a phone line, but training your agents to do and say the right thing is the critical piece of the puzzle.

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